The other day my cousin-in-law, Moira, posted a super cute picture on Instagram of my cousin Josh and their son Dan with the comment ‘Wondering if hot chocolate at breakfast time is a bad idea…’
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking that Moira is right and chocolate for breakfast isn’t so healthy.
But I beg to differ.
You see I’ve been reading (and cooking from) Sarah Wilson’s brilliant new ebook, the “I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook“.
Earlier in the year, I interviewed Sarah about her personal journey ‘Quitting Sugar’. If you missed it, you can listen to the audio interview over here. So I was super excited when she announced she was pulling together an I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook and jumped at the chance to contribute a recipe.
While my tastebuds have been having loads of fun exploring the recipes, I haven’t been feeling guilty about my creations. Firstly because I know that Sarah is super passionate about keeping things sugar, and especially fructose-free. But also because there’s some great information in the book on the health benefits of eating chocolate.
So today I wanted to share my favourite health benefits from the book, along with a chocolate recipe so healthy I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast…
5 reasons to eat more chocolate.
As Sarah keeps reminding you throughout the book, the benefits related to eating chocolate come from cocoa especially raw cocoa in its pure form. So we’re talking either using raw cocoa powder or dark chocolate with as little sugar as possible.
1. Slows the aging process.
Raw cocoa contains powerful antioxidants called ‘polyphenols’. It has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times the antioxidants of green tea. These antioxidants protect your body from harmful chemicals. They also help slow age-related decline in nitric oxide production which apparently is a good thing.
2. Boosts your mood.
As most chocolate lovers know, eating chocolate can make you feel better. The good news is that studies are confirming regular cocoa intake can result in significant improvements on certain aspects of mood, including calmness and contentedness.
3. Slows the growth of cancer cells.
As I mentioned last year, antioxidants and other compounds in dark chocolate help slow the growth of cancer cells. So a little dark chocolate is a good thing, but apparently the milk solids in milk chocolate cancels out the benefits. So stick to 70% cocoa solids or higher.
4. Reduces the risk of stroke.
This Swedish study found that increased chocolate consumption reduces the incidence of stroke among men. Interestingly, most of the chocolate used in this study was milk chocolate.
5. Helps keep you leaner.
I love the findings of this study in San Diego. People who consumed chocolate more regularly had a lower BMI than those who ate chocolate less frequently.
Keen for more chocolatey goodness?
See the details of Sarah’s NEW Chocolate eCookbook over HERE!
Chocolatey Coconut Granola
Adapted from the ‘I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook‘ by Sarah Wilson.
If the thought of chocolate for breakfast gets you excited, I highly recommend starting with this granola. It’s seriously delicious served on top of home made natural yoghurt or coconut yoghurt. And in case you’re wondering, I have chia seed bran in the bottom of the glass in the photo above.
Sarah uses rice malt syrup to sweeten many of her recipes. Most good health food stores will stock it, but you could use honey instead. I really love the flavour of rice malt syrup, it’s not super sweet and has a lovely malty slightly carameley flavour. I also love that it’s a natural ingredient produced from brown rice.
75g (3oz) butter or coconut oil
3 tablespoons rice malt syrup
30g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder, preferably raw
150g (5oz) coconut flakes
250g (9oz) chopped nuts
1. Preheat your oven to 150C (300F).
2. Melt butter or coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add rice malt syrup and cocoa powder. Stir.
3. Combine coconut and nuts in a bowl. Stir in the cocoa syrup mixture until the flakes are just coated.
4. Spread mixture on a baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Stop when the coconut is well browned (which can be difficult to tell through the cocoa) or everything tastes roasted and yummy.
5. Cool and transfer to an airtight container. Will keep for a few months at room temperature.
optional additives – Sarah also includes cinnamon (1 teaspoon), chia seeds (2 tablespoons) and cocoa nibs (2 tablespoons) in her recipe. So feel free to add in any or all of these. But honestly I prefer this simple 5 ingredient version.
different nuts – I used brazil nuts and pecans but feel free to use any nut you like.
different sweetener / no rice malt syrup – If you can find rice malt syrup or aren’t interested in investing in a new sweetener, feel free to use honey instead. Glucose syrup or dextrose could also be used. Or if you have stevia in the house that’s another option.
vegan – make sure you use coconut oil instead of the butter.
nut-free – if you’re catering for nut allergies, you could replace the nuts with extra coconut (just double the amount of coconut and skip the nuts) or use a combo of coconut and seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds – whatever you feel like.
Looking for more healthy chocolate recipes?
Then I recommend checking out the ‘I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook‘. You’ll find plenty of ideas healthy enough to have for breakfast and more ‘treaty’ options.
Sarah is fan of ‘exotic’ ingredients such as chia seeds and rice malt syrup. So if you’re not interested in expanding your baking ingredient arsenal, the book probably isn’t for you. Although by using the following substitutions, you will be able to make 66 out of the 74 recipes in the book.
* Honey = rice malt syrup or stevia
* Regular cocoa powder = raw cocoa powder
* Butter = cocoa butter or coconut oil
* Just skip it = chia seeds or cocoa nibs.
For more details of healthy chocolatey goodness go to:
ps. The links to Sarah’s ebook above are affiliate links. So if you do choose to buy, you’ll be supporting the Stonesoup business, which I appreciate deeply.
Best of luck with bubs!
I love your newsletters and I very excited by thoughts of chocolate for breakfast!
While I am sure that chocolate has many health benefits, for many it does not. The caffeine in chocolate can be a real problem. As such I am unable to have raw or dark chocolate in any form and am careful of milk chocolate.
I gave up caffeine several years ago on the advice of my acupuncturist. I immediately noticed a considerable improvement in niggly health issues that persisted regardless of how healthy the rest of my diet and lifestyle was.
While every person has their own individual makeup which enables them to tolerate different foods, you may not have made the connection between some of the things you eat to some of your health challenges. Or you may accept that you always “have a certain problem” without connecting it to some of your holy grail foods like chocolate, sugar, caffeine or wheat/gluten or even fructose…
Yes caffeine can be a problem but only for those who are super sensitive…
I’m fairly caffeine sensitive but a square of dark chocolate before bed doesn’t impact my sleep… as you say everyone is different.
Glad it sounds like you’ve found what works for you
Encouraging me to eat MORE chocolate? Can you be my new best friend? I don’t think I’ve ever had chocolate for breakfast (I don’t like chocolate glazed doughnuts), but we sometimes have leftover pie or bread pudding. Does it really matter what time of day you eat your treats, as long as you don’t overindulge?
You need to have chocolate for breakfast at least once!
With warmest wishes for the birth of your baby – such happiness lies ahead!
Babies (and chocolate) give joy to us all!!
I so agree with you about chocolate goodness! It’s a fantastic source of magnesium too. I culture kefir at home and my favourite breakfast is a chocolate banana kefir smoothie. I use a super heaped teaspoon of plain cocoa powder and add ground flaxseeds too, and it’s delicious. The slight sweetness from the banana is enough – no sugar needed.
Good luck with the birth of your little one. So exciting!
Amajjika – I’m okay with caffeine in moderate amounts – for example I drink tea and also have one strong cup of coffee a day, but I do have unpleasant symptoms with very dark chocolate if I eat too much, so I never have more than one or two squares. I actually wonder if it’s the theobromine in chocolate rather than the caffeine that can cause problems for some of us?
Al things in moderation eh?
Thanks for sharing Sara!
And yes moderation
I’ve heard that honey, rice malt syrup, agave nectar, etc. have the same effect on your body as sugar… (insulin spikes.)
Great question Amy!
Yes rice malt syrup will cause insulin spikes if eaten on it’s own but in something like this where you’re using a small amount and there are lots of fats and fiber from the nuts it’s pretty safe.
The real problem with honey and more so agave syrup is their high fructose content… a type of sugar that can only be digested by our livers and gets turned directly into fat. If you’re interested in reading more on this Sarah’s books are a good starting point or try ‘Sweet Poison’ by David Guillespie … I’m reading it at the moment and it’s a real eye opener…
Dear Amajjika, read the following article https://www.amanochocolate.com/articles/caffeineinchocolate.html and stop worrying about the caffeine because it turns out that you have to eat at least a pound (!) of chocolat for a substantial amount of caffeine.
its the moments like that when i wish i actually like chocolate…. still will be making your granola, as presents, probably:)
Good luck with the little one;)
I don’t know if I could do chocolate without the sugar… but this sure does look tasty!
LOVE rich dark chocolate! And I do feel much better when I eat it …in moderation of course! :-)
However, I was shocked to see the high saturated fat content. Which now kind of spoils the enjoyment!
Wondered how you saw this?
Great question Helen!
Basically I don’t worry about saturated fat. Especially from sources like coconut and grass-fed beef or cocoa butter. If you’d like to hear more about my thoughts on this you might find this post useful https://stonesoup.mystagingwebsite.com/2012/08/the-truth-about-fat-are-you-making-this-mistake/
Hi Jules- Congratulations and good luck with the Baby! Better bank on some sleep now though! Thanks for suggesting chocolate for breakfast- I LOVE that idea. Cheers to you!
Yes sleeping as much as possible these days… have stopped using my alarm clock… which feels like luxury!
What do you mean by: It has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times the antioxidants of green tea.
Is this per serving or per gram? Is it by ingredient (green tea leaves) or edible item (one cup of green tea)?
Off the top of my head I think it was per gram… ET but good question!
I’m afraid you’re being a bit of a scientific cherry picker. While I’m sure the antioxidant content of chocolate is sky high, the research that antioxidants do all kinds of wonderful things for you is mostly outdated. In fact, it has never been solidly conformed in the first place. All the other studies do indeed reveal correlations, but you have to always be careful stating that these correlations are actually causal.
That being said: there’s probably also nothing wrong with some nice chocolate, as long as it’s in moderation. Like all things.
Will keep an eye out for more details on antioxodants and health…. but that’s not the only benefit I mentioned above.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this recipe. I had to get up, go to the shop for ingredients and make it. Delicious! Even my kids loved it. Nothing left over for the chocolate breakfasts that I was planning. Then today I made your brownies from an older post. (because I had the dark cocoa powder in the cupboard) It’s much easier for cocoa powder to stay in the cupboard than chocolate slabs. Every time i read your blog, I learn something new. Sam
So glad you and your family liked it Sam! And thx for the cocoa brownies reminder… I haven’t made them in ages!